November 14th, 2008
05:30 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama asks Clinton if she is interested in secretary of state post

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Sources say Obama asked Clinton if she is interested in the secretary of state post.
Sources say Obama asked Clinton if she is interested in the secretary of state post.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Multiple Democratic sources tell CNN that President Elect Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton had a “serious discussion” Thursday to gauge Clinton’s interest in the post of Secretary of State, if she were offered it. Senator Clinton’s response is unknown, although multiple sources agree that Hillary Clinton was left with the impression that if she were interested in the post, it would be hers.

“There was a serious discussion to determine whether, if offered Secretary of State, she would accept it,” said a source close to the Obama transition.

In these circumstances, that source added, a president-elect does not meet with potential cabinet secretaries unless they are serious about making an offer.

Another source close to the Obama transition team told CNN, “this (asking Clinton to be Secretary of State) has been of great interest to Obama for awhile. You’ve got to assume that Hillary Clinton did not come to visit the city of Chicago.”

Over the course of the last 24 hours, sources close to Hillary Clinton have softened their one-time solid public position that she would not be interested in a cabinet position. Those sources now say that Hillary Clinton is clearly contemplating various ways in which she can serve the Obama Administration.

On Monday, Senator Clinton responded to a reporter’s question by saying, “I am happy being a Senator from New York, I love this state and this city. I am looking at the long list of things I have to catch up on and do. But I want to be a good partner and I want to do everything I can to make sure his agenda is going to be successful."

Another source close to the Obama transition team tells CNN that among the key details to be worked out with Clinton, should she express interest in the position, are issues of how her husband, former President Bill Clinton, will be able to continue his work with the Clinton Global Initiative without complicating Hillary Clinton’s work as Secretary of State.

soundoff (280 Responses)
  1. SD,Michigan

    I think it's a good idea and a good political move. We cant afford to have 2 factions : Obama wing and Hillary wing. This move as I percieve it is to bring unity to the Democratic Party.
    I was rooting for Richardson, as being more qualified, but...gotta think in terms of politics...what's best.
    Obama knows what he's doing.

    November 14, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  2. deb in Colo

    TO Richie -

    I think this "leaking" is intentional....best way to judge the reaction before making a decision.

    November 14, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  3. MATT WILL, W-S N.C.

    I am not a great fan of Hillary, because of the mess they started during the primary, but I think she would be a good pick. A lot of people might be upset because Obama is not picking a new face, but we are in a serious crisis at this time. This is know time for a lot of new faces in his administration.

    November 14, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  4. Tom

    This is a very bad choice

    November 14, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  5. Lee-- Dallas, TX

    This is simply great political drama. Obama knows exactly what he's doing and HRC is playing her role very well I might add. Gotta love this stuff.

    Just FYI to all that think this is really a crazy idea:

    Hillary has run for president and is a very powerful figure; why would she want to stay in the Senate and be 1 of a 100? As Sec of State, she would only have to answer to one person; Pres Obama.

    She is very popular overseas and would play a critical role on the world stage; not just nationally as she does now. This would be a great power-play and HRC is a serious power-player– I'd dare say she's a perfect Barack type.

    A word to those worried about leaks. Has any one noticed that these 'leaks' haven't been anything bad or damaging? Team Obama has to have a way of getting its message out without appearing to want to hog the media air waves with there being '...one President at a time...' and all.

    These 'leaks' appear as 'BREAKING NEWS' and 'THIS JUST IN', grabbing the headlines of every news outlet and political media organization. These 'leaks' at least, won't be sinking any ships. That's full steam ahead Team Obama.

    [Again, these are solely my opinions.]

    November 14, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  6. thomas

    This is starting to look like "not much change".

    November 14, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  7. Karen - Missouri

    While I was always behind Obama, I think Hillary as Secretary of State sounds good. So far, Barack Obama has been very careful and thoughtful in his decisions so I know careful scrutiny went into this.

    I'm glad to see Barack Obama putting some really heavy hitters in his administration. That's a good sign and a strong leadership.

    I say...go for it

    November 14, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  8. ABG

    I hope Hillary will be our next Secretary of State and so does the 18,000,000 who voted for her.

    Thank you President-elect Obama!

    November 14, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  9. Ann

    It seems some still can't get over their resentment against Clinton and to some guy in New Hampshire who wrote: Exactly what qualifies Hillary Clinton to be chosen as Secretary of State ahead of people who have built their careers in diplomacy and foreign policy? -maybe he can tell us what qualified Obama over all the others with more experience to be President when he himself said he wasn't qualified to run just 3 short years ago? So if you didn't care about experience for Obama why should you demand it in others now?
    She would make an excellent choice. She is more versed in talking than Obama in just about everything and she would be a great statesman.

    November 14, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  10. Patty-California

    Senator Clinton is an excellent choice for Secretary of State – let us hope that she accepts the position.

    November 14, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  11. Amy in Utah

    Multiple Democratic sources?

    I'd believe it more if it weren't for the fact that "multiple Democratic sources" have been sited for some many of "possible" stories that go nowhere.

    November 14, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  12. Kevin, SF, CA

    I think it's an interesting play. I personally would rather have seen Obama appoint her healthcare czar. She fought those battles and make some mistakes, but her heart was in the right place, and she knows the territory better than anyone.

    November 14, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  13. Jeff

    McCain chose a fresh-faced Washington outsider to run with him...and look how that turned out!

    Read "Team of Rivals"–everyone who ran against Lincoln for the Republican nomination in 1860 ended up in his Cabinet. And ONE was–gasp–a Democrat!

    November 14, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  14. Ex-Republican (Retired Military)

    Who is the idiot, they were willing to put Sarah Pallin ( No knowledge of anything outside of Alaska and who did not know Africa was a Continent, or who was involved in NAFTA ) in the White House a heart beat away from the Presidency. Now they want to complain about someone not having experience in Foreign Affairs, give me a break and we call Sarah Palin dumb.

    Hillary you take it.

    November 14, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  15. Stacy

    All Bill Clinton's money sources for his foundation will have to be checked out first. And this could get very tricky for Hillary Clinton.

    November 14, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  16. Finally, Positive News

    Obama has true leadership. Asking Hillary Clinton to be our next Secretary of State is move in the right direction. His first smart decision for those of you counting. No doubt, she will help us regain our position and reputation in the world.

    November 14, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  17. Rachel

    Do it Obama offer it to her. Hillary take it.

    November 14, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  18. Matt

    Is it me or did all the Republicans faking they were Democrats during the election cycle not realize that it doesn't work? Now they're all posting that they voted for Obama but spouting Republican talking points that his ostensible cabinet does not represent change. Ridiculous. It doesn't convince anyone to believe your dribble guy...give it up.

    November 14, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  19. Dave

    Clinton is a great choice. Obama has done amazing things already, and if continues to build his administration with strong politicians like Hilary Clinton, his White House will be successful.

    November 14, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  20. Patrick

    Drama queens. Settle down! ROFL Obama is the most brilliant president we've had since Clinton. He knows what he's doing. Wait n see.

    November 14, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  21. msbea

    Hiring too many friends is not a good idea.......

    November 14, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  22. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    Remember what the Godfather said:

    "Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer!"

    November 14, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  23. Appeasing PUMA's??

    Lu is right – Richardson would be a far better choice. HC may be a good choise, but not the best. Concern is how much is still buried in the files that are still sealed regarding the Clintons. Also, I do not see either Clinton properly representing President-elects view – firmly believe they have their own agenda and would not hesitate to put it into play behind closed doors.

    November 14, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  24. Jonathan

    We need someone with more foreign experience besides being a dignitary as the First Lady. Let's get someone who actually knows foreign affaires such as Bill Clinton, Chuck Hagel, Gen. Wesley Clark, or Colin Powell. Maybe even David Petreus if he weren't busy winning the war and all.

    November 14, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  25. JAY N.H.

    some guy in New Hampshire,

    I agree with you. I think she would be better served as head of some commitee in the senate. Obama should cut her a check for her campaign debt and call it a day. Obama would not be able to control her or Bill,because you get two for one.

    November 14, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
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